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Universal Basic Income: How to Survive in a Future without Jobs

12 December 2019

The World is Running out of Jobs – Brace yourselves Employed Ones and Read What’s Happening in this Article

 

Hello Aluxers, and welcome back! By some, technology is considered the “oil” of the 21st century… once we tapped into it, our world changed… we’re sure all of you are experiencing these rapid changes first-hand in your day to day lives; which is why in today’s article we’re taking a look at critical shifts happening in the job market due to advancements in technology, and explore the idea of universal income. Let’s dig in….  

What if?
Introduction
Universal Basic Income (UBI)
Challenges and Threats
Conclusion
Question

 

If you prefer to listen and watch over reading and imagining on your own, here’s the solution:

With that in place, let’s walk forward towards the article!

What if?

What if we run out of jobs for our ever-growing population, because of mass automation? What if an AI system, could replace you at work? What if the only jobs available, required a background in Robotics, or engineering? What if the top businesses in the world, employed more robots than humans? What if your dream job became obsolete? 

We know – this probably sounds like some crazy sci-fi movie plot… but Aluxers, this reality could take shape a lot sooner than we think. With that in mind, let’s try to understand what the current job market looks like, before automation takes over completely.

Introduction

At present, the majority of  low skilled jobs like driving, manufacturing, and maintenance are becoming irrelevant, with the advancement in mass automation and the success of AI. It’s impossible not to feel the difference digitization has made in our daily lives… Everything from watching movies, to buying tonight’s groceries – can be done online. And although this has made our lives more convenient, it’s also eliminated thousands of jobs.

Sure, autonomous cars are “cool”… but if that tech takes hold in the trucking industry… 50-thousand drivers will be left jobless in the US alone.

We are sure one can personally feel the difference the wave of digitization has created in the past few years in our daily activities like shopping for groceries or consuming entertainment and even though all this has made our lives better it has also taken a toll on thousands of jobs that existed before.Inventions like driverless cars definitely amaze us but if driverless trucks become a reality, 50,000 truck drivers will turn jobless in the US alone. 

Several experiments in the past have proved that robots and AI systems are more efficient than human beings in every professional field, and although they cannot imitate things like human touch or empathy, in professions like medicine….  they are definitely good enough to replace members of the less skilled workforce.

Top CEOs care about their profits more than anything else, and if that means replacing hundreds of lower-end jobs with robots or AI codes, you can bet on them making that tough choice. Which brings us to addressing a single question…  how do we survive in a future without jobs?

That question has led to quite a debate in recent years… surrounding the idea of a Universal Basic Income, or UBI. Basically, a social model designed to support people when job availability becomes a thing of the past. Let’s take a closer look.

Universal Basic Income (UBI)

Currently,  we live in a world with major economic inequality.  On one hand, we have giant tech companies earning profits greater than the GDP of some countries….  while on the other hand, we have a class of actively working poor people, who are employed, but are earning below their country’s poverty line.

These actively working poor are affected by the low wages they earn, and the taxes they have to pay in order to sustain their livelihood. Now one might wonder, “why would someone work so hard, and still live poor, if national governments provide social services such as welfare?” – an idea similar to that of UBI.

Interestingly, American presidential candidate Andrew Yang based his entire campaign on the idea of universal basic income, and why it’s necessary in a developed nation like the US, where automation is growing more rapidly than many other countries.

With that said,  let’s try to understand how the UBI model can work in a country like the United States, and what implications it could have if replicated and implemented around the world. 

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Now, back to the model of UBI, in reference to the current US Economy – These days, a monthly income of 1000 USD is considered to be a reasonable Universal Basic Income for a person receiving social assistance.

Right now, millions of manufacturing jobs in the US have been automated, and nearly 30% of stores have closed in the retail sector. Considering many people in the US can’t afford to pay exorbitant college tuition fees for higher education and/or specialization,  this wave of automation will definitely result in greater unemployment.

Considering this, it starts to become clear that a greater need for a UBI may be on the horizon… even for developed nations like the US. However even on a global scale, we can see similar job market trends in countries like Japan, where the majority of service jobs are already automated, due to its aging population.

Now Aluxers, the tech savvy among us know there’s no first-move advantage when it comes to technology…  and even though the rate of automotion differs across different economies and geographies, One thing will always be certain: top multinational companies will always put profits before welfare.

It is estimated that 800 million jobs will be automated worldwide by 2030, and technological advancements like deep learning have left practically no boundaries as to what can be automated.

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Challenges and Threats

Now if you’re starting to think a UBI model provided by our governments, or sponsored by businesses, can make things better for everyone… We gotta say, the solution is not that simple.

Several experiments in providing the masses with a basic income have failed in the past, and in some cases, created more problems than it solved. Some individuals proved to become unmotivated and lazy, because they did not need to work for a living… some wasted their money on drugs and alcohol…

We also have to consider that the model of UBI doesn’t actually bridge the gap in wealth equality, since the income provided doesn’t account for things like inflation or economic breakdown. 

Some intellectuals and economists also believe that UBI could lead to an implosion in stock markets, and slow down the economy further by reducing spending, rather than increasing consumption.

The implementation of a UBI poses challenges of its own, the model needs to be tailor made for every country and depends on multiple factors – like the current state of welfare in the country, the focus of government, and/or the how much money the government has allocated for welfare in its budget.

In 2017, the Canadian government experimented with the idea of a Universal Basic Income. The Pilot Project was an attempt to bridge wealth inequality, and uplift the lower classes.

The Canadian government planned to provide 4000 socially disadvantaged people a UBI of $17,000 dollars annually, for a period of 3 years. However, the project was scrapped after ministry officials determined the experiment did not enable the participants to become independent contributors to the economy.

The cancellation of the program left the participants angry and dissatisfied, while also making their future even more uncertain. Similar experiments have also been carried out in countries like Kenya and Finland, and as we indicated before, may even be necessary highly developed countries like the US, in the very near future.

Conclusion

For most of us, we need a job to earn our livlihood… for some of us, that job may even be what defines us and gives our lives meaning. We’re betting that for you Aluxers, a life without work goals would be kind of…. Empty and without purpose…. So instead of worrying about AI and Robots, let’s be smart and start planning how we’ll handle the changes ahead! 

Question

Having such a big international audience, we’d love to know… what does the job market look like in your country? Is automation resulting in job cuts and maybe even a slowdown in your country’s economy? 

Also – what is your take on a future without jobs? Would you acquire new skills and try to keep yourself employed in a world full of automation, or would you settle for a universal basic income provided by your country’s government? Let us know in the comments!